Saturday, December 20, 2008


As far as I'm concerned, there is only one adhesive. I've tried nearly every so called "super strong" jewelry adhesive on the market. I've also tried 2 ton epoxy. Because metal and glass are non porous materials, finding a reliable adhesive took me a while. Non porous materials are notoriously difficult to bond. If I can snap a bail off of a cabochon with two fingers I consider that bond to be unreliable. The only adhesive that provised a bond I can't break with my fingers is Triolyse Adhesive. It is a UV glue, and when I first investigated it I dismissed it because you had to cure it with a UV lamp or set the piece in bright sunlight to cure. And this would only work with transparent glass. But more recently it has been sold with an activator that allows you to bond even opaque glass without a UV lamp. You simply apply the activator to one bonding surface and the cement to the other. The pieces are bonded (yet repositionable) after 10 to 20 seconds. After about 6 hours the piece is wearable.

The activator does leave a residue that cleans up easily with alcohol. And it is a tad pricey at $17.00 for 10ml. but a very little bit goes a long way. And, it's worth it not to have my jewelry returned due to broken bails.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quality Control

I am something of a perfectionist. I'm rarely thoroughly satisfied with anything I've made. I've learned to live with some degree of imperfection, and when you're melting glass in a kiln there is a certain degree of luck involved in creating a good finished product. I've also learned that that rare piece that I think is the best I've ever made, isn't necessarily an instant hit with anyone else. You never know what someone else may like, even if you don't.

However, I will not list or sell any item I outright dislike, or any item that has a flaw related to some error on my part. I won't sell devitrified glass. I won't sell anything not properly annealed.

I have a drawer filled with rejects. Most of these duds are from the early era of my fusing experience, but I still toss a piece or two every other firing or so. If a piece look boring to me I'll toss it.

Also when I am photographing items for sale in an internet store, I'm shooting on a macro setting. I will see flaws not visible to the unaided eye. Sometimes I just need to rinse or clean the piece or remove a tiny piece of fuzz or a hair. Sometimes the flaw is in the glass itself.

If I see a minor flaw in a piece which becomes a glaring flaw when magnified, and I still like the piece, rather than listing it online I will set it aside for sale at a craft fair.

I also have a couple drawers full of pieces (mostly earrings) that I think can sell but don't impress me enough to list online. I often sell these at discounts. There's nothing wrong with them other than they haven't gained my favor. As a matter of fact, my wife Christina took a bunch of small stud earrings to work tonight and sold six pair to a co-worker. Five bucks a pair. Normally my stud earrings sell for $10.00 to $13.00 a pair depending on the type of glass used and amount of time it took to make them.

Christina will not let me throw anything away.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


It took me a while to find the jewelry findings that most met my requirements. Of the several ways to hang a pendant on a chain, the one I use most often is the bail. I like the Aanraku bail because it looks good, is available in 3 sizes and is avainable in Sterling plate, gold plate and nickle plate. It has plenty of surface area for the adhesive to secure it to the cabochon. They are a staple in my supply caddy.

I also use Aanraku bails for my dangle earrings, though sometimes if I need something smaller (or less expensive), or if I've run out of Aanraku earring bails, I will use beaver tails. They are simple, inexpensive and very effective. I just bend the opening forward so it sits more centered on the earring, allowing the earring to hang straight.

I've tried several different clasps. I used to use the barrel clasp most of the time. But because they sometimes work loose, I've settled on the hook and eye clasp. It's simple, inexpensive, easy to secure, and unlikely to accidently disconnect. The one advantage the barrel clasps have over all these other types is you do not need a jump ring to secure them. The ends of the barrel clasp function as the jump ring and all you have to do is loop it through your chain with some small pliers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Glass

I use only COE 90 fusable glass. I'd say pretty much exclusively Bullseye these days. I prefer to work with transparents. Usually striker glass. 1.5mm thin. Striker glass has the distinct character of NOT really resembling the color and opacity the glass will be after firing. Much of it is colorless before firing, so if you're not careful you'll get your scraps mixed up with your clear scraps. I tape my striker scraps to the original piece (which is labeled) to prevent confusion.

I use lots of dichroic glass. I try to buy quarter sheets because they are simply more economical, though where I purchase my glass not every kind of dichroic is available in quarter sheets. I like to keep a selection of solid color dichroic, rainbow hued dichroic (Pixie Stix or Reptile, etc), patterned dichroic and textured dichroic glass available.

I buy mostly CBS and Savoy. Thin. Always thin.

I do alot of etching of dichroic glass. I use an ordinary Sharpie marker to stencil the glass and apply etching cream. The etching cream will not penetrate the Sharpie ink.

I buy all of my glass from Artisan Dichroic;

They only sell COE 90 glass. Bullseye and several brands of dichroic glass. A really great selection. Quarter sheets to 4"X4". Even the Bullseye is available in 4X4. Very reasonable shipping.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Compact Photo Studio

One thing we don't have in our home studio is ANY spare room. Our livingroom is our studio and consists of a sofa and TV surrounded by equipment, tools, storage cabinets , work tables and materials. In deciding where to photograph our crafts we had to clear out a leaking water cooler and set up a tote against the wall with a seamless background (big sheet of white paper taped to the wall). I purchased a Lowel EGO Digital Imaging light (about $125.00). This compact studio light literally transformed my photography. I supplement the lighting with a shadeless lamp fitted with a daylight temp flourescent bulb. I mount my camera on a tripod and zoom in via macro lens, displaying my jewelry on various textured surfaces such as a bowl of white sand with sea shells, a bowl of fine gravel with little tree branch and stones, a piece of striated sandstone, white marble and petrified wood. I'm always on the lookout for new surfaces to shoot on. I tryed various fabrics for a while but found them inferior. My photo studio takes up about 24" X 15".